Summary: As a young medical Doctor I had to testify in a murder trail, as I have done the autopsy on the victim. It was my very first time in a courtroom, and that the High Court of all places
Intro: As a young medical Doctor I had to testify in a murder trail, as I have done the autopsy on the victim. It was my very first time in a courtroom, and that the High Court of all places, and I knew that the honourable Judge H W O Klopper, who used to be president of the World Boxing Council, was presiding. He had a reputation, of being a No-nonsense, strict judge, you did not take any changes with him. Having been a ruthless boxer himself, he carried the same attitude he had in the ring, into his courtroom. I will never forget the moment he walked into that courtroom, dressed in flowing black robe, with his white hairpiece on, he stood on the bench, gave the people in the courtroom a penetrating glance, lasting several seconds, before sitting down. The announcement came; “This court is now in session, you may take your seats.” A cold chill ran down my spine, shortly I would be called as an expert witness, before a judge who had the full authority of the State, including the power to give the death sentence, vested in him. As I was sitting listening to the charges brought by the Authorities against the defendant, the moment I feared, came when my name Pieter Daniel Fraser Botes, was called out, and I started walking forward to the witness box, I was asked to take an oath to tell the truth and nothing but the truth. The next moment the Judge was looking me straight in the eye, and there I was so glad that he could not see my wrongdoings. My late payments on my tax, an unpaid fine for a parking infringement, and breaking the speedlimit on the way to court, was sitting very uneasy. I made a decision right there, I would do my utmost never to stand as the accused in court. A decision that still today influences every motive and action I take. I told the truth, I answered every question I was asked in fear and trembling. You might never understand the relief I felt when the Judge said, thank you Doctor, you are allowed to step down. Although I carried on doing medico-legal work for another 9 years, and testified in many hearings after this incident, I would never feel at ease, and I was not even the one who had to defend myself. My respect grew as I was time and again overwhelmed to see the absolute authority vested in the presiding judge.
Now in our reading today: Paul is standing before King Agrippa, and I understand how Paul felt, I know that Paul’s words would be chosen well, and that he would tell the full truth and nothing but the truth.
Now I want to examine today our text: Acts 26:19-20. I believe that this message Paul got from Jesus himself is what we need again to hear, a simple message that all can understand. Lets look at it:
a) “20but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent”:
How do we need this to happen again, God’s message has not changed!
Today in Hamilton New Zealand, at the very place this message is preached, a play has started last night, a controversial play that has Jesus as a pot-smoking activist and teenage dad, and our youth are fed this rubbish. You can never be saved without repentance, and we live at a time where people don’t want to hear that message any longer. The mesaage tat John the Baptist started his ministry with, that message that Peter preached at the first Pentecost, Repent and be baptized, the message our Lord Jesus opened his public ministry with: Repent…..for the Kingdom of God is at hand.
People ask “what is repentance”?
Let me give you this illustration:
Wabush, a town in a remote portion of Labrador, Canada, was completely isolated for some time. But recently a road was cut through the wilderness to reach it. Wabush now has one road leading into it, and thus, only on one road leading out. If someone would travel the unpaved road for six to eight hours to get into Wabush, there is only way he or she could leave---by turning around.
Each of us, by birth, arrives in a town called Sin. As in Wabush, there is only one way out--a road built by God himself. But in order to take that road, one must first turn around. That complete about face is what the Bible calls repentance, and without it, there’s no way out of town.
b) “turn to God”
You see it is not enough just to turn from sin, form the power that the Evil One has got over us, we must turn to God, He is the only One who can protect us against the Evil One. We must confess our sins and put our trust in God.